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“Lights in the Dusk”

“Lights in the Dusk” (photo)

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The protagonists in thrillers are often referred to as coiled springs because they, like coiled springs, are always ready for trouble and are poised to strike at any moment. Koistinen, the lead of Aki Kaurismäki’s new film “Lights in the Dusk,” is like an old Slinky, played with so long it’s bent out of shape and lost all elasticity. It’s only good for sitting around and getting tossed around by cruel people, which is essentially what poor Koistinen does for 80 minutes. But then, “Lights in the Dusk” has all the requisite elements of a thriller, except the actual thrills. Kaurismäki plays the story for pathetic tragedy rather than excitement.

Kaurismäki name-checks Chaplin in the press notes, and Koistinen, played by Janne Hyytiäinen, brings a hint of the Little Tramp’s sadder side to his performance, the way his searching eyes gaze longingly at a good-looking woman or a juicy steak. He’s dropped into the middle of a classic film noir set-up, replete with femme fatales, spiked drinks and the form’s three “L”‘s: larceny, loneliness and lust.

Koistinen works as a late-night security guard and spends almost all of his time on this earth alone. He’s one of the most miserable characters you’ll ever meet in a movie theater. His search for companionship leads him to Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi), a blonde temptress in the employ of some gangsters in need of a patsy. Koistinen allows himself to fall for Mirja and then allows her to frame him for her bosses’ crimes even after he gets wise to her scheme. It’s a little off-putting to see a person — even one as defeated by life as Koistinen — march into his own demise, but it makes a little more sense once he actually gets thrown in jail and we see Koistinen, happy for the companionship of his fellow inmates, smile and laugh for the first time in the picture. You know your life’s a mess when incarceration’s actually a step up.

Apathy and resignation don’t translate to grand drama particularly well, and “Lights in the Dusk” isn’t really all that dramatic. But that wasn’t Kaurismäki’s intention. He set out to complete a trilogy about losers — the first two installments were 1996’s “Drifting Clouds” and 2002’s “The Man Without a Past” — with a story of loneliness, and no one could fault his execution in that regard.

“Lights in the Dusk” opens in New York on June 13th (official site).

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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